One in four women over age 65 is unable to walk two blocks or climb a flight of stairs.
Known as mobility disability, it is the leading type of incapacity in the US and a key contributor to a person's loss of independence.
I am reposting this article from the American COUNCIL ON ACTIVE AGING (WWW.ICAA.CC) A recent study by UC San Diego researchers suggests that light-intensity physical activity, including shopping or a casual walk, may protect mobility in older women.
The researchers followed more than 5,000 women (mean age, 78) for up to six years. Participants wore a research-grade accelerometer for seven days to obtain accurate measures of their physical activity. The mean time spent in light physical activity was 4.8 hours per day. Examples of such activities include washing and drying dishes, gardening and walking at a pace of about 1.5 m.p.h., such as while shopping.
They found that women who spent the most time performing light-intensity physical activity had a 46% lower risk of mobility loss compared to those who engaged in lower levels of physical activity. Similar results were observed among White, Black and Latinx women. Women with and without obesity also reduced their risk of mobility disability, but the benefit was strongest among women with a body mass index (BMI) of less than 30.
"These findings could have major impacts on public health recommendations, putting more focus on the importance of light physical activity to improve the health and well-being of older women," said co-author John Bellettiere, PhD, professor of epidemiology at Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health. "Doing so may help women maintain mobility and independence as they age."
SOURCE: University of California – San Diego (February 23, 2021); Glass NL, et al. Evaluation of light physical activity measured by accelerometry and mobility disability during a 6-year follow-up in older women. JAMA Network Open, 2021; 4(2): e210005 DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.0005